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A new awards system is being launched to encourage children to pursue careers in engineering and technology and prevent a huge shortfall of engineers in the UK.
Research has shown that the UK economy will create 1.2 million jobs in the engineering sector in coming years but the lack of qualified graduates will leave a shortfall of 59,000 candidates a year.
Now UK STEM - a specialist company which works with schools and industry to promote science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) - is launching a special awards system to help plug this gap.
Mike Cargill, Managing Director of UK STEM, said encouraging more young people into engineering and technology careers was critical to the success of many UK firms.
His company has joined forces with the University of Wolverhampton and technology firm Mindsets Online to develop the Global STEM Award system.
Mr Cargill explained: "We are providing a framework to help both teachers and students understand the connection between STEM activities and the influence that they have in the real world.
"Students will gain bronze, silver and gold awards by completing a variety of projects. This will take them on a journey across the seven continents of the world, as well as space and marine, to enrich their understanding of different cultures and eco-systems.
"The projects will fire their imagination and show them how STEM based skills can be used to make a real difference to people's lives."
He added: "There is going to be a huge demand for graduates with STEM skills in the very near future but forecasts predict a worrying shortfall which will have a detrimental impact on individual companies and the UK economy.
"By taking part in the Global STEM Awards programme students will gain an understanding of the careers available to them using STEM skills and qualifications and hopefully set them on a path to a career that will benefit them and UK industry.
"We are looking forward to working with schools across the UK and with companies who may wish to sponsor these awards in their area.
"A cluster of schools have already registered their interest and the University of Wolverhampton plan to roll out the awards to 13 of their partner schools."
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